30th October 2014 France, Belgium, Holland, Germany!

We left Al & Isabel on the 26th and headed for the Caravan Club site in Folkestone called Blackhorse Farm for one night. It is very handy as it is only 15 minutes drive to the Eurotunnel terminal. We use this site as our last night in the UK before heading off on our travels as well as our first night on returning.

On our way down we filled the van up with diesel and also filled up our gas bottles with LPG as they had not been topped up since getting back from our last trip to Spain. We arrived just after 1pm and after getting the van sorted, we walked the short journey to the local pub aptly named “The Blackhorse” for a Sunday carvery. This was very well received along with a pint of ale. As we had no room for pudding we settled the bill and walked back to the site to have a shower and an early night, as we were up at 3am to get ready for the 6.20am train to Calais!

We were up and getting ready by 3:30am albeit a bit fuzzy! It is not normal being up at this time and we both felt a little ill for a few hours. We made it to the train on time and had a pleasant and stress free journey. Most of the time I was chatting to the man from the car in front who was on his way with his family to Euro Disney while Angela sat in the motorhome. We were on the road (the right-hand side) by 8am French time and the sun was just coming up for what was going to be about a four hour journey through France, Belgium and on to Asten in Holland.

We have been there before and it is a good stopover to gather your thoughts, do some washing and as we did go for a bike ride into the nearby village of Neerkant. As most people know Holland is flat so brilliant for gentle bike rides along the vast amount of cycle paths. In Neerkant I found a nice bike shop where the owner fitted a new pair of hand grips as my old ones were worn out. While there we chatted to him about Angela’s bike and the possibility of changing it for a new “Old Dutch” style bike. He was against this idea as the so called “Old Dutch” style bikes were for old people who only use them for a little bit of shopping!

He showed us a very impressive bit of kit they have to get the right bike for you. It is what can only be described as a bit of gym equipment but it basically measures all of your statistics. Arm and leg lengths, shoulder width, body length and many other measurements which are then fed into the computer programme and it then sorts out what the best bike for your stature is. When asked what the starting price for a new bike would be we were told to pay between 800-1000 Euros. Angela has decided to continue with her old Marin mountain bike and if she gets into it may then change!

We noticed a little cafe bar on the main road so decided to go in to eat. We had a lovely bowl of tomato soup served with a warm roll and garlic butter followed by a coffee each. We got back on the bikes and cycled to the supermarket for a few provisions before continuing our cycle ride around the village and then back to the van. On our way we noticed a man up a ladder trimming his conifer tree. This is something I do for my mum once a year and I am glad it is not this big! His friend thought it a bit strange that someone would stop and photograph him in action. At least it gave them a laugh.

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We stayed at the Stellplatz in Asten for two nights which cost 10 Euros a night including electric, water, showers and also it has free Wi-Fi!  before heading off to a Stellplatz in Germany called Nordhorn (another we have visited before). We were going to go to Minden where I served as a soldier but like last time in 2012 the fair was in town so once again we will not get there.

Nordhorn was only an overnight stop so on arrival (in the rain) I got the electric cable plugged in and paid for while Angela went off to the payment machine at the entrance. It was free last time we were here in 2012 but now it is 5 Euros a night for a motorhome, 1 Euro for 5 hours of electric and water if you needed it was 1 Euro for about 80ltrs. I walked into town to get some fresh meat for the evenings meal while Angela made the van cosy.

We were watching a German motorhomer who when anyone left was straight out checking if there was any time left on the meter of the person leaving and if so switching his plug. He did this a few times and we both said that our friend Jim (you know who you are) would be proud of him as it is one of the things he does when on this type of stellplatz.

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Nordhorn is where Angela’s sister in law Heike is from and her parents still live on the farm there. If our German was better we would probably visit and stay with them! Next time maybe?

So today the 30th we drove on to Heike’s house in Schneverdingen, Germany where we will be staying for a while as we are house/dog sitting.

We arrived early afternoon but Heike had to go out with the dogs Tessa and Murphy to dog training so we would not see her till later that evening. This gave us chance to get the trailer under the car port and the van on the drive which fits with about a meter to spare. We got the spare key from the neighbour and once the van was sorted we had a shower and got ready for going out later that evening to a nice restaurant called Hotel Ramster. We chatted the night away as we had not seen each other for two years.

About Dean

Angela and I decided that there was more to life than working hard to keep up the payments on the mortgage, to pay the gas, electric, phone bills etc. etc. SO............ In 2008 we sold our house, I initially took a year off (Unpaid) and Angela handed in her notice! We bought a motorhome and set off for a year of travelling! This was the best thing we had done in our lives (Apart from getting married) and we have no regrets. During the year I managed to secure a redundancy package which felt very strange. Almost sad as I had worked for the same company for 19 years (BT). It was always our plan to have a whole year off before thinking about the 'W' word. We began applying to the Camping and Caravanning Club (CCC) for the position of Holiday site assistants in August 2009. After the interview, work experience and induction we were finally given a contract at the CCC site in Inverewe (Scotland). Our plan is to work through the summer in the UK then head to Europe to overwinter before coming back to work the following summer season. Hopefully these few words and our blog will inspire others to get off the hamsters wheel and see that there is more to live than having a house and material things. A cliche I know but this is not a rehearsal, life is too short!!! Since our first contract in Scotland we have worked a winter contract in Oxford (never again!) not Oxford but a winter contract. Hereford for two years, living in a yurt for one! And Cornwall. In between our working we have also travelled a bit. Hopefully this website will give you an insight into our alternative lifestyle. Get out there and live the dream!
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